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Holiday Boat Parades

One of the best winter traditions in Orange County is the Holiday Boat Parades. Families and friends flock to the harbors to see the festively decorated boats and homes to celebrate the season. Each year, we have several boat parades – Dana Point, Newport Beach, Huntington Harbour and Yorba Linda plus the Dry Land Boat Parade held annually in Villa Park. Don’t miss out on the fun! All boat parades are free to watch.

Here are all the holiday boat parades in Orange County and a few more nearby to get you into the Christmas spirit at the these family-friendly events.

Dana Point Boat Parade of Lights

Dana Point Harbor, CA 92629

December 8-10, 2023 | 6:30PM

Decorated boats will light up the night at the Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade of Lights. The festive event is held every year to celebrate the holiday season and participants put on elaborate light displays for the opportunity to win cash prizes. Watch from the shoreline or cruise the harbor to take in the merry magic with Captain Dave’s, Dana Wharf, and the Ocean Institute.

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

Newport Harbor, CA 92663

December 13-17, 2023
6:30 PM – 10:00 PM

The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade lights up Newport Bay every holiday season. For over one hundred years, hundreds of boat owners have draped their boats in lights to celebrate Christmas. The event also includes fireworks and other holiday-themed festivities.

Newport Beach Boat Parade

Huntington Beach Harbor Boat Parade

Huntington Beach Harbor, CA 92649

December 9 & 10, 2023
5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

The Huntington Harbor Boat Parade is a local tradition held every holiday season. The event is organized by the Huntington Harbour Philharmonic Committee as a way to thank the residents of Huntington Harbour for decorating their homes for all to enjoy, and is an all-volunteer effort.

Villa Park Dry Land Boat Parade

Villa Park, CA

Sunday, December 11, 2022 (2023 TBA)

The Villa Park Dry Land Boat Parade is an asphalt harbor tour where 50 + vessels travel through Villa Park. Along the way there are neighborhood parties and kids lined up eagerly waiting for candy to be tossed overboard.

A “boat” may be defined as anything that can be towed or driven at up to a speed of 5 mph. Typically there all are forms of decorated boats and wheeled transports such as golf carts, Segways, trucks, classic cars, surfboards, kayaks, jet skis and many more creative vehicles.

Yorba Linda Holiday Of Lights Boat Parade

East lake Village
5325 Village Center Drive

2023 TBA

The East Lake Village Community Association hosts an annual Holiday Of Lights Boat Parade. The boat parade is viewable to the public from any area around the lake. There will be food trucks in the Clubhouse Parking Lot for spectators to purchase food and drinks to enjoy before and during the parade.

More Nearby Boat Parades

Note: There is also the Lake Mission Viejo boat parade but that is open to lake residents and their guests only.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you wear to a boat parade?
Dress in layers including a jacket. Bring gloves, a winter hat, scarf, and leggings. Wear warm shoes and socks. You will be standing outside, either on a pier, boardwalk, seawall, or beach so don’t wear heels.

What to bring to a boat parade?
Bring a camera, map of the area, cash/change, snacks, blanket, and thermos full of a hot cocoa, coffee or tea. Bring a stroller or a wagon if you have small kids.

What is a parade on water called?
Boat parades are waterway events with decorated and illuminated boats. Some of the well known water parades include Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, Fort Lauderdale Boat Parade, Walt Disney World and of course the drunk Brady boat parade.

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Monique McArthur is a mother of two, writer, and creator of delicious recipes. In her spare time she enjoys exploring all that Orange County has to offer, traveling, shopping, running with her dogs and spending time with family.